Independent Commuting Among Individuals with Autism
Individuals with special needs face varied challenges during their daily commute, and the majority of them are unable to take public transport independently. In hope of designing concepts for future transport systems, this study examines the challenges and barriers faced by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when taking public transport in Singapore.
In collaboration with Rainbow Centre, survey questionnaires were completed by 25 parents of students with ASD. Transport challenges and barriers identified from the survey responses were translated into a requirement list, such as a need for assistance in alighting and boarding, predictable travel routine and supervision or support. The requirement list forms the basis of a design concept for a Virtual Companion (ViCo), proposed to be added to the current and future transport system. By linking ViCo at bus stops and public transport vehicles with a new smart-card, users will be able to experience seamless information access and guided travel journeys, through simplified user interaction and features such as route planning, reminder notification to alight from buses, and many more. The incorporation of ViCo is expected to improve mobility autonomy for individuals with autism and create a more inclusive public transport system.